Tuesday, October 20, 2020 / 11.30 AM / House of
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The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon Femi Gbajabiamila has called for wholesale reform of the Nigerian Police Force. He disclosed this in his remarks on the spate of #ENDSARS protests nationwide.
Read below the full speech
1. Good morning Honourable colleagues, thank you for being here this morning.
2. About two weeks ago, I spoke to this honourable House about the need for urgent, substantive, and wholesale reforms of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) and an overhaul of our nation's internal security and policing framework.
3. This honourable House debated the failures of policing that have caused our nation's youth to take to the streets in their numbers, demanding that Government live up to our primary obligation to ensure the security and welfare of our people.
4. The nationwide protests that gave impetus to our deliberations that day have not abated. They have gotten more serious, with many reported instances of violence between state actors and protesters, between protesters and armed thugs who seek to hijack the passion and idealism of these protests for other nefarious purposes.
5. The Federal Government of Nigeria has acted to dissolve the Special Anti- Robbery Squad (SARS), whose gross abuses of power are the proximate cause of this present unrest. The Government has moved to set up, through the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), a national judicial panel of inquiry, in addition to similar panels set up by the federating state governments.
6. The House of Representatives has committed to a programme of reforms. We resolved to collaborate with the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) and the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in this effort and to ensure that draft legislation is ready for consideration within thirty days.
7. None of these actions have sufficed to convince the ever-growing numbers of protesters to withdraw from continued agitation. From Lagos to Awkuzu, from Port-Harcourt to Kano, Abuja and Enugu, the protests have continued relentlessly, with good cause. Whatever else may be driving this moment, our people expect more than commitments. They expect action, and we must deliver.
8. This House will live up to the commitments we have already made, whilst we continue to seek avenues to do better and achieve more. Even as we act to establish systems for police accountability to ensure that the abuses of the past never happen again, we must seek the full measure of justice for what came before.
9. We owe this to Tiyamu Kazeem and Tina Ezekwe, Tony Zitta and Anita Akapson, to Chijioke Iloanya and Jimoh Isiaq, Kolade Johnson, Modebayo Awosika and far too many others.
10. We owe it to the families they left behind, to those who even now do not know if their missing son, their long lost sister, their father, is buried somewhere in a shallow, unmarked grave, put there by those whose duty it was to protect them.
11. We owe this much to the young people who have such high hopes and lofty aspirations for this nation that they are willing to risk their lives, brave the sun and rain, through night and day, to demand that all of us, one nation under God, live up to the better angels of our nature, and be better than what we are now.
12. On Wednesday last week, the leadership of the House met with the President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA). This meeting was in furtherance of the House' resolution to partner with the Association to develop legislation that implements a new framework for holding police officers accountable when they fail in the performance of their duties under the law.
from that meeting, the President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Olumide
Akpata constituted a Committee, led by the eminent Professor Deji Adekunle, SAN
to work with the House of Representatives to develop a Bill for the House
within the timeline we have pledged. The Committee has resumed its assignment.
I thank Olumide Akpata and the leadership of the NBA for their support. I also
thank Professor Adekunle, SAN and members of the Committee, all of whom
volunteered for this assignment, for recognizing the urgency of the moment and
acting with dedication and in good conscience, in service of our beloved
14. Two weeks from now, the House will receive and immediately begin to consider legislation that seeks to establish a system of independent, responsive accountability that:
a. Holds erring members of the Police Force to account for their conduct in the performance of their duties;
b. Imposes civil and criminal liability for violations of the law and the Police regulations;
c. Ensures that officers found who engage in unauthorized, unlawful use of force are expelled from office and subject to the full penalty of the law; and
15. We will establish a system of citizen-led accountability for the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) because in the democracy we have set out to build, the police are not above the citizenry, they are servants of the people. The police are not above the law; they are its guardians.
16. As we endeavour to hold our nation's police to higher standards of personal and professional conduct, we must also make sure that we provide for the welfare of the men and women to whom we assign such significant responsibilities in our collective interest. From minimum police recruitment requirements, through to training, everything must change, if we are to have a police force that meets our nation's needs and upholds the law of the land with integrity and professionalism.
17. Honourable colleagues, independence for any nation is not a function of a singular declaration; it doesn't happen one time. Freedom is earned through generations, over and over again, by the sacrifice of patriots who band together to achieve for themselves and leave to their descendants, the inheritance of a more perfect union.
18. Sixty years ago, our country gained its independence from the British who until then had charted our course and devised our fate. Twenty years ago, when we set off the shackles of the military dictatorship, to commit once more to this grand experiment in civil governance, we gained independence again.
19. Today, we are witnessing across Nigeria, a call for a fundamental rethinking of our nationhood. As we sit here in this hallowed chamber, a new independence movement is roiling our nation. A generation of young people, who came of age in the years of our democracy have looked upon what we have built and decided that we can do better.
20. We will do well to heed this call and what it portends for Nigeria. Let us take the opportunity of this moment to do the hard things, make the right choices and pursue those objectives that drive progress and put us in good stead for generations to come.
As Speaker of this House of Representatives, let me say now for the records to reflect, and in the expectation that I would be held to account:
21. This is my commitment, and I ask the support of the House of Representatives for this and more. Let us through the grace of God and with humility work together to bring peace, security, justice and prosperity for all our nation's people.
22. To the young
people across Nigeria who have led these protests, whose call for change has
brought about this historical moment, you are the midwives of national rebirth.
You have moved a nation to action, and now you must join in doing the hard work
of making real the vision of a just, more prosperous, and more resilient
23. We see
your true cause. Please do not allow your righteous cause to be hijacked by
those with base motives, who see at this moment an opportunity to pursue
vendettas, to spread division, exploit the many existing fissures that exist in
our society and bring our nation to its knees.
24. You have
raised your voices and marched to demand a better Nigeria. From Abuja to
Washington, to Calgary and London, your voices have been heard. Do not allow
anybody to convince you that to withdraw from the streets now is to concede
25. This is the
time to move your agitation from the chaos of the streets to the painstaking
deliberations and strategic partnerships that birth policy and produce
legislation. It is time to mobilize your voices in support of specific policy
interventions that will deliver on our shared objectives of national renewal
and a country that reflects the best of us. I thank you, your country thanks
you, and history will be kind to you.
bless you all, and God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
1. Lagos State Police To Enforce 24 Hour Curfew, Proshare Reverts To Remote Access Work - By Ottoabasi Abasiekong for WebTV, Tuesday, October 20, 2020
2. IGP Deploys Anti-Riot Police Nationwide To Protect Lives And Defend Critical Infrastructure - By Nigerian Police, Tuesday, October 20, 2020
3. #EndSARS: Understanding Nigeria's Emerging Active Citizens - OpEd by Abiodun Awosusi
4. #EndSARS: The Generation that said "Enough is Enough" - OpEd by Reuben Abati, Tuesday, October 20 2020
5. Establishment, Composition and Training of Nigeria Police SWAT to Replace the Disbanded SARS - Office of The IGP Friday, October 16 2020
7. SARS and The Youth Revolt - Olusegun Adeniyi, Thisday, October 15, 2020
8. Appeal court declares Police Act 2020 illegal, nullifies constable recruitment - Punch, October 14, 2020
9. A Nigerian internet or social media shutdown? What to know and do - TechCabal, October 14, 2020
10. Presidential Panel on Police Reforms Swings Into Action, Okays 5-Point Demand of Protesters - State House, Proshare, October 13, 2020
12. #EndSARS: Almost a Nigerian Revolution - Reuben Abati, Proshare, October 13, 2020
13.#EndSARS: IGP Orders Immediate Dissolution of FSARS Formation Nationwide - Proshare, October 11, 2020
14. VIDEO: #EndSARS: President Buhari Reaffirms Disbandment of FSARS, Assures Nigerians of Police Reforms - WebTV, October 12, 2020
15. #EndSARS: IGP Orders Immediate Dissolution of FSARS Formation Nationwide - Proshare, October 11, 2020
16. Download PDF: Order and Directives - Restrictions on The Operations of Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad - Proshare, October 11, 2020
17. VIDEO: #EndSARS:The Quest For Reforms And Effective Policing In Nigeria - WebTV, October 10, 2020
18. President Buhari Signs the Nigeria Police Bill 2020 into Law - Proshare, September 17, 2020
20. The Kolade Johnson Killing: #ENDSARS #ReformPoliceNG Group Calls for Signing of Police Reform Bill - Proshare, April 05, 2019
21. VIDEO: Kolade Johnson Killing: #ENDSARS #ReformPoliceNG Group Call for Signing of Police Reform Bill - WebTV, April 05, 2019
22. NBS Publishes 2019 Corruption in Nigeria Survey Report - Proshare, December 06, 2019
23. 134,663 Crime Cases Were Reported in 2017 - NBS - Proshare, June 26, 2018
24. National Corruption Survey: Corruption in Nigeria - Bribery as Experienced by the Population - Proshare, August 16, 2017
29. PDF: Police Affairs / Budgets
32. PHCN, Police Most Corrupt in Nigeria, By ICPC - Proshare, June 29, 2006